COUPLES: How enmeshment stops sex

The mystery of why close and connected couples rarely have sex is no longer a mystery. It would be lovely if getting on well meant getting off but this does not always transpire.

We often believe that the intimacy of early days when we couldn’t meld anymore than we did was meant to carry on through the rest of the relationship…right?

Maybe. Maybe not. In the early days, desire brings us close together because there is so much energy buzzing in the space when two people are apart. When we maintain this sense of needing to be close or nearby all the time, that electrifying energy dwindles and predictability then takes its place.

A phenomenon that can occur between a couple who remained extremely close without personal boundaries and identity is called enmeshment. In enmeshed relationships there is an increased need and dependence on the other person; signified by frequent contact, poor decision making ability without the other person, difficulty owning emotions and parts of identity without the other and distress or confusion arising when one has time without the other. When I speak to sex coaching clients about enmeshment, I phrase it as:

You don’t know where one person ends and the other person begins

There is a merging of two selves into one but not just in special or transcendental moments – all the time!

If we are this close, sexual desire can wane because it doesn’t have the chance to breathe. When our partner becomes our family, this can compound that lack of desire, especially if attraction to them is replaced with a notion of being related (therefore off-limits).

For personalised guidance about sexual desire, libido, sex drive, sexual conflicts and sex in long-term relationships, go to my sessions page.

Lauren xo